You’ve finally decided on the date for the most important day of your life! Between all the family involved and wanting to have the last say in everything you were beginning to feel like just trashing the whole bang-shoot and eloping! But you took the initiative, made your decision and if the date doesn’t fit it with anyone else that’s too bad! And no, you’re definitely not asking for any of their (the family) opinions on anything further! Your closest friend will help you with the finer details and they will all just have to wait, like everyone else, for their invitation to see where, what and when! You’re not even telling your mother which is a major crime in itself but being Italian with a big family is enough to drive you nuts!

You have an idea of what you want and you know how much you can spend so it’s a matter of firstly finding the perfect venue. Once that’s done, you’ll make a list of various car hire companies like ‘Avis’, ‘Budget’ and ‘Tempest’ including websites for cheap flights with combined car hire and hotel accommodation which will be emailed to all those coming from out of town. There are one or two exceptions which you’ll make special arrangements for.

‘The Moon and Sixpence’ located in Muldersdrift (just 20 minutes from Sandton) offers a choice of two venues. The ‘Farthing Chapel’ has large candlelit chandeliers, creating a wonderful romantic ambiance as the bride walks down the aisle while the balcony looks over the ‘Farthing Gardens’ and pool where guests can enjoy drinks and refreshments with an aroma of lavender in the air and after sunset, spotlights and lanterns in the garden create a dreamy atmosphere. ‘Farthing Hall’ accommodates 120 guests with a dance floor. The other option is ‘The St Francis Chapel’ is set within flourishing gardens and oak trees, has stained glass windows, a thatched roof and a design that leaves one with the feeling of being in the open. The ‘Florin Hall’ with a thatched ceiling, an open fireplace and a dance floor can comfortably seat up to 160 guests that can amble out onto the patio with beautiful views of the gardens and soothing sounds of the water features.

Luxury accommodation available for guests with special rates:

Luxury 4-Star accommodation is available for guests with special rates including a Honeymoon Suite. For more information and viewing of pictures go to www.moonandsixpence.co.za

‘Diamond Hill Country Venue’ caters for between 80 and 160 guests and is just 20 minutes from Pretoria off the N4 highway. Set amidst natural rock formations combined with a spectacular sunset, the view is breath-taking. In Tuscan style, the main chapel and hall are set in tranquil surroundings with gurgling fountains and paved walkways. Accommodation is not available. To see more go to www.dhcv.co.za

‘Mellow Oaks’ situated in Roodepoort offers the ‘Oxford Room’ with seating for 130 guests, the ‘Cambridge Room’ accommodating 120 guests and ‘The Hall’ that seats up to 350 guests. All these have a minimum of 100 guests. For smaller functions ‘Sugar & Spice’ seats up to 80 guests (and bar) with its own chapel and a minimum of 50 guests. As qualified florists are on hand you’re not permitted to take your own flowers. Accommodation is available for your guests within 5km of the venue and the bridal suite is connected to the Main Hall and is not charged for. For more info go to www.melowoaks.co.za

‘Lapa on Vaal’ is tucked away on the banks of the ‘Vaal River’ in Vereeniging and is just 40 minutes drive from OR Tambo International Airport. The ‘Lapa’ seats up to 200 guests and is set within natural scenery including animals and birds. Your ceremony takes place in a charming garden chapel. Go to www.lapaonvaal.co.za for more information.

‘The Forest Walk Venue’ is found in Glen Austin, right between Johannesburg and Pretoria and enclosed within a forest. The reception area, some 250m2 accommodates, in banquet style seating, up to 140 guests but if your preference is a buffet style layout, a separate area is available. An added bonus for a lovely evening under the stars is their ‘Boma Area’ (part of the venue hire) seating up to 30 guests and where smokers can relax without having to hide out while they puff away! The chapel surrounded by trees and with a red carpet has the advantage of allowing you to feel as though you’re outside and should it rain or be cold you’ll be covered! They’ll cater to your every whim with a delectable set menu or typically South African spitbraai. Check out their website for more information and specials on offer at www.theforestwalkvenue.com

‘Duck & Dine’ is an off-beat bit of heaven hidden away in Pretoria that offers affordable wedding venues with a garden or stone chapel. ‘Carolina Corner’ seats up to 220 guests, ‘Robins Nest’ will seat up to 60 guests and ‘Swans Hide’ is the garden chapel. Catering for every need ‘Duck & Dine’ will handle small weddings of any size and large weddings up to 220 guests. Whether your dream is to be married in a stone chapel or be in an outdoor garden chapel, they’ll see to it including any kitchen teas, stork tea parties and bachelor or bachelorette parties. You have a choice of catering or self catering with luxury wedding accommodation being available. To find out more about this great venue email them at info@duckdine.co.za

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